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Retiring House Dem Slams Leadership On Her Way Out: ‘You Can’t Promise Rainbows And Unicorns’

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


A retiring House Democrat railed at her party’s leadership for catering to the extreme left-wing at the expense of more moderate members.

In a wide-ranging interview with Politico, Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), the head of the party’s “Blue Dog” caucus who announced in December she won’t seek a third term, she said that party leaders tried to “beat moderates into submission” during talks over President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda.

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For instance, the party’s moderates pushed back on party leaders’ attempts to get them to go along with a $1.8 trillion social spending package that was linked to the $1 trillion infrastructure bill. Though both eventually passed the House separately, the former legislation has met insurmountable Democratic moderate opposition in the Senate when Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginian said in December he could not support it.

“I felt from the start that was a failed strategy,” Murphy, the first Vietnamese-American woman elected to Congress, said of attempts to connect the infrastructure bill and social spending package. “I also felt like you can’t promise rainbows and unicorns when you know that you don’t have the votes for it.”

She also said that with Democrats holding slight majorities in Congress, the party’s leaders had little “tolerance” for members to vote in a way that would possibly allow them to hold on to their moderate districts.

“It’s unfortunate because I think in order for us as Democrats to hold the majority, you have to be able to win in seats like mine and in redder seats. That means you have to cut your members a little bit of leeway to vote their district,” Murphy explained. “This march toward party unity is going to be detrimental to our ability to lead the agenda for this country.”

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National Review Online adds:

Ahead of the 2022 midterms, 31 House Democrats have announced plans to retire. Republicans are hoping to retake the majority in the House after a series of high-profile elections that saw Glenn Youngkin win the Virginia gubernatorial race.

Rep. Ted Deutch, also of Florida, became the 31st House Dem to announce he would not run for reelection.

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“After serving the public for more than 15 years, I have decided I will not seek re-election this November. Public service was instilled in me by my father who earned a Purple Heart in the Battle of the Bulge, and it has been a tremendous privilege to serve the people of Palm Beach and Broward Counties in Congress since 2010. I am incredibly grateful to my constituents for their support and friendship,” Deutch said in a statement.

“I have been forever changed by serving the people of Broward and Palm Beach Counties in Congress,” he continued. “Since 2013, my colleagues have selected me to lead our critical foreign policy work in the Middle East … For me, this foreign policy work has been a natural continuation of my deep ties to the American Jewish community and my long-standing advocacy on behalf of the U.S.-Israel relationship.

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“Beyond foreign policy, we have also seen an unprecedented rise in antisemitism in our own country and abroad, and I have been at the forefront of the Congressional response as the founding co-chair of the House Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Antisemitism. This critical work, and the opportunity to do it on a global scale, is why I am announcing that I will not be running for re-election to Congress as I have accepted an offer to serve as the next Chief Executive Officer of the American Jewish Committee,” he added.

Several recent polls reveal good news for Republicans who seek to regain control of Congress in the November midterms, including a major survey by The Wall Street Journal last week showing the party making historic gains with minorities.

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